Best Overall: TaylorMade M6 Iron Set
“The M6 are an exceptional set that brings the needed boost in distance and accuracy to golfers with low-to-mid handicaps. If you are looking to continue your improvement as a golfer, the M6 really delivers excellent shot-making ability.”
Best For Distance: TaylorMade M4 Iron Set
“With patented technology, the M4 will increase distance, boost your launch angle, soft entry shots, and provide max forgiveness for less sidespin.”
Longest Irons: Callaway Golf Men's Rogue Irons Set
“This Iron Set can change your game overnight – these are some of the longest, highest, and most forgiving irons we’ve ever played. It gives extra bounce and distance at impact.“
In today’s market, there’s a nearly overwhelming selection of different iron sets.
So how does the amateur golfer know where to start?
The #1 criteria for an amateur golfer’s iron set should be how forgiving it is.
A good round of golf is when you can hit three shots that turn out exactly like you envision them before you swing the club.
When even Hogan is satisfied by a mere 3 good shots per round, the average amateur will mis-hit the ball more often than not.
So a set of forgiving irons that can turn a poor swing into a decent shot is a must.
We’ve spent the last 3 months reviewing almost every iron set available on the market and found the most forgiving iron. Read on to find out more.
Last updated on 2021-06-22. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Table of Contents
- The Rundown:
- Featured Recommendations
- Most Forgiving Irons in 2021
- Things to Consider When Buying the Most Forgiving Iron
- Questions & Answers
Most Forgiving Irons in 2021
Here are the most forgiving irons:
- Best Overall: TaylorMade M6 Iron Set
- Best For Distance: TaylorMade M4 Iron Set
- Longest Irons: Callaway Golf Men's Rogue Irons Set
- Forgiving Iron Set for Mid Handicappers: TaylorMade SIM Max Irons
- Aptly Named, Excellent Clubs: Cleveland Launcher CBX Iron Set
- Best Forgiving Iron Set for Beginning Golfers: Callaway X Hot Iron Set
- Most Forgiving Irons for Mid Handicappers: TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons
- Iron/Hybrid Combo Set for Long Iron Bliss: Tour Edge Golf- Hot Launch 3 Triple Combo Irons
TaylorMade M6 Iron Set
Most Forgiving Irons: Great sound, forgiveness and feel make for one of the best sets on the market
TaylorMade's M6 Irons take the advances of the M4 and expand on them, strengthening the weaknesses of last year’s model and producing a truly outstanding iron set.
The new “Speed Bridge,” a small strip of metal that connects the sole to the topline, allows TaylorMade to keep the face extremely thin while lending a feeling of stability and reducing vibrations.
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TaylorMade M4 Iron Set
Best For Distance: High-tech at every turn
The TaylorMade M4 Irons are bursting at the seams with new ideas and materials that TaylorMade hopes will make the ball fly further and straighter than ever.
They do produce great distance when you put a good swing on them.
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Callaway Golf Men’s Rogue Golf Irons Set
The Longest Forgiving Irons: Runaway distance, but rocky feel
Callaway Golf Men's Rogue Irons Set is designed with urethane behind the ultra-thin clubface that is intended to give extra bounce and distance at impact. These golf irons are no different: they’re about as long as any golf irons I’ve hit, with a nice penetrating trajectory.
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TaylorMade SIM Max Irons
Forgiving Iron Set for Mid Handicappers
The TaylorMade SIM Max Irons offer terrific forgiveness with a stylish design and exceptional performance. The golf irons don’t waste an ounce of material as the streamlined design delivers everything to the golf ball in an energetic and exciting package.
These irons feature many of TaylorMade’s most popular technologies. The Speed Pocket sits directly behind the face for increased ball speed while enhancing forgiveness on lower half strikes.
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Cleveland Launcher CBX Iron Set
Aptly named, excellent clubs
Most noticeable upon first glance is the extremely thick sole, putting a ton of weight in the bottom of the clubface to provide a low center of gravity. This results in a quick launch and high ball flight, with great backspin and forgiveness.
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Callaway X Hot Iron Set
Best forgiving iron set for beginning golfers
The Callaway X-Hot Iron Set produces exceptional forgiveness for golfers that are having a tough time hitting shots directly to their target area.
If you are looking for a set of super game improvement irons that will forgive your off-center strikes without losing that precious exit velocity that determines distance, then the X-Hot certainly fits that need and delivers first-rate performance.
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TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons
Most Forgiving Irons for Mid Handicappers
The TaylorMade SIM MAX OS Irons offer marvelous forgiveness without sacrificing one yard of distance. These game improvement irons feature a large sweet spot that produce tall arcing shots that fly straight with soft landing and high spin.
The irons boast two features worth noting; the Speed Pocket and Speed Bridge. The Speed Pocket takes up the area behind the face that allows the hitting area to become flexible. This flexibility delivers more energy to the golf ball for increased ball speed for additional distance.
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Tour Edge Golf- Hot Launch 3 Triple Combo Irons
Iron/hybrid combo set for long iron bliss
Tour Edge is a small company headquartered in the Chicago suburbs. They don’t have any official tour players, but many tour pros use their fairway woods without any official endorsement. That should be enough proof that they know what they’re doing as far as clubmaking.
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Things to Consider When Buying the Most Forgiving Iron
This article is intended to find the most forgiving iron sets available today, so obviously the first and most heavily weighted criterion is forgiveness.
Worth a max of 40 points, the forgiveness rating takes into account both distance and directional forgiveness on heel, toe, and thin shots. There’s not much a club can do to correct a chunk!
You may find one set more forgiving than another because you tend to miss your shots thin only, and so a low center-of-gravity iron would be perfect for you.
If your miss tends to be on the toe, you may want to find an oversized iron with a larger sweet spot. And if you tend to miss towards the heel and slice the ball, a club with an extreme offset might fit the bill.
If the forgiveness level between two clubs winds up being about equal, you’ll want to squeeze as much distance as you can out of each shot. The closer you can get to the green on a par 5 or a long par 4, the better chance you’ll have of making a good score. And wouldn’t you rather hit a 9-iron to a 150-yard par 3 than a 7-iron?
Hitting a club with more loft offers more backspin and thus more forgiveness and accuracy. So the distance potential of a club actually has a pretty big impact on the forgiveness level of an iron set. With this in mind, irons can earn a maximum of 30 points of distance rating.
The last three criteria will receive a maximum of ten points each. They’re the little things that can sometimes help tip the scales between otherwise closely matched iron sets. First up is feel.
Feel has two components: first is how the club feels when it strikes the ball. A good strike should feel smooth and buttery, almost like the ball just leapt off the clubface rather than being impacted by it.
Second is how it sounds. A lot of golfers don’t realize this until they hear a sound they don’t like at impact. A satisfying click will make an iron feel much better than a clunky thump, even if both shots turn out identically.
Feel plays a big part in your confidence. If you’ve hit a few great-feeling shots on the driving range before the round, you’ll play with more optimism and confidence.
I’m of the opinion that looks are overrated in the golf world. Many golfers fawn over shiny chrome forged blades, but are they really the best clubs? For 99.9% of players in the world, the answer is no. Henrik Stenson is considered one of the best and most consistent ball-strikers in the world, but even he uses cavity-back irons.
The loss of performance on even a slight mis-hit when you’re using blades is so drastic that I don’t recommend them for any golfers at all. The performance level of cavity-back irons is so high that I think every golfer will benefit from them at all levels.
I also think results can quickly change your opinion on a club’s looks. An “ugly” club that consistently hits the ball right at the flagstick will become beautiful in no time at all!
Durability for an iron set can be measured in a few different ways. All clubs will show bag chatter unless you use individual headcovers for each club (which I think is overkill — leave headcovers for woods, hybrids and putter only), but some forged clubs will look ten years old after just a few rounds played. Cast irons, on the other hand, might not feel as smooth but will show much less wear and tear even after a few seasons of play.
Grips will always wear down and should be replaced at minimum once a year, so unless there’s something horribly wrong with the grips, I won’t take them into account for durability.
Clubheads should be stable and secure in the shaft. Steel shafts will be more durable than graphite, but even graphite shafts should last for a decade or more. Since I’m only testing 2018 models, there will have to be an egregious lack of build quality to lose points in the durability category.
Questions & Answers
What is the difference between cast and forged irons?
Cast irons are made from molten metal poured into a mold. They take the shape of the mold and are then cooled. Cast irons are typically the most durable, but also the hardest feeling clubs.
Forged irons are made from a single piece of superheated metal that is shaped into the proper shape. This result in softer, better feeling irons but they wear out more quickly. Once the chrome veneer is worn off, the metal underneath will rust and the irons will need to be replaced.
Cast and forged irons can often be found in an iron set.
What’s the difference between steel and graphite shaft?
The difference between a steel and graphite shaft for golfers involves the weight of each material. A steel shaft weighs around 120 grams, while a graphite shaft runs anywhere from 50-85 grams.
Steel shafts are heavier than graphite shafts. Professional golfers and experienced players prefer steel shafts due to their stiffness and feel. While it may cost them a few yards in distance, these players have elevated swing speeds to compensate for the shaft’s weight difference.
Lighter graphite shafts, commonly found in clubs where distance is at a premium, create higher ball speed at impact. You’ll discover graphite shafts in drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids. In some instances, golfers prefer graphite shafts in their irons due to the increase in swing speed the material brings players that are struggling to generate distance.
High handicappers, beginners, senior, and women golfers, prefer graphite throughout their club set to help maintain swing speed and maximize length.
Cavity-back or blade?
Cavity-back irons are designed to have large sweet spots made possible by moving the weight of the club from the back of the iron to the perimeter. A blade (or muscleback) has the weight centered behind the sweet spot. This may sound nice, but you have to hit the ball purely every time. Miss the sweet spot by just a fraction of an inch and your ball will lose a ton of distance.
For this reason, I suggest cavity-backs for all levels of player. Even the best professionals don’t hit the sweet spot every time, and a cavity-back will help this mis-hits still make it close to the original target in a way that blades just can’t pull off.
What irons qualify as forgiving or a game-improvement set?
Game-improvement irons are typically very forgiving for golfers that need the help. Since most beginners and high handicappers struggle with consistency, a forgiving iron provides golfers the ability to get the ball into the air with a tight shot dispersion.
These shots translate into shorter birdie putts on the green or less wayward shots that need to be saved from rough and bunkers. Forgiving game-improvement irons, like the TaylorMade M6 and SIM MAX OS lines, give golfers the tool they need to keep the ball straight toward the target.
What makes the most forgiving irons?
A combination of design and innovation is responsible for forgiving irons. Take the M6 irons for example, the club’s Speed Bridge and Speed Pocket technology offer extended flexibility along the entire face to redirect off-center strikes without sacrificing accuracy or ball speed.
The biggest characteristic of a forgiving iron is the sweet spot. The larger the sweet spot, the more forgiving the iron will be for the golfer. Iron sets, like the TaylorMade SIM MAX OS, with oversized heads offer premium forgiveness.
What golfers should also understand is that forgiving irons usually do come at the cost of shot shaping. The goal of forgiving irons is to keep the ball high and straight for exceptional accuracy and distance.
The most forgiving irons on the market today all share similar characteristics that can add accuracy and precision to your game. These irons provide golfers of all skill levels with a massive sweet spot, better spin, and incredible shotmaking.
Our choice for the most forgiving irons, the TaylorMade M6, offers golfers a wonderful complement of benefits including additional distance, more accuracy, and boosted forgiveness.
All of the iron sets on our list, including the highly capable M6 set, offers premium performance along with durability and reliability for golfers looking to buy a set that will last them several years.